Published September 14. 2021 02:45PM
Carbon County voters in two precincts will see their polling places return to original sites during the November election.
Last week, the county election board voted 2-1 to return Franklin Township Independent District 11 and Mahoning Township Packerton/Jamestown District 38 to their original district locations. Commissioner Chris Lukasevich cast the sole no vote, citing possible confusion to the voters in the middle of an election cycle.
District 11 will now return to St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 222 Church St. Lehighton, while district 38 will return to Zion Lutheran Church, 34 Pine St., Lehighton. Voters in these two precincts will receive updated voter cards with the addresses.
Lukasevich said these voters had been moved three elections ago as a result of the pandemic and added that Carbon County is currently in the high transmission rate for COVID-19.
Election officials said that they have received feedback that voters would like to return to their original polling places, but could not provide specifics on how many voters had been asked.
In a related election matter, the election board voted against changing Jim Thorpe 4th Ward District 17 to a new location for the upcoming election.
Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein voiced his concerns regarding making such changes in the middle of an election cycle. The motion was to move the precinct from Diligent Fire Company at 330 Center Ave., Jim Thorpe, to Tolman House, 32 Race St.
Lukasevich said that without “compelling reasons” for a move halfway through an election, he couldn’t see possibly “disenfranchising some voters and potentially unduly influence the outcome of an election.”
“We have seen extremely close elections in the primary and even one disenfranchised voter is not worth any movement of polling places mid-voting cycle,” he said before abstaining from the vote due to his support of candidate Tyra Boni.
Nothstein and Commissioner Rocky Ahner voted no for the move.
The board also noted that the Department of State has created a new website for all voting questions. The new URL is vote.pa.gov. The former website will redirect to the new URL.
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